U.S. authorities have charged two Ukrainians in an audacious, multiyear scheme to hack into the database of the U.S. securities regulator and use unreleased corporate news releases to make illegal stock trades.
Artem Radchenko, 27, and Oleksandr Ieremenko, 26, were charged with securities fraud, wire fraud, and other charges in a 16-count indictment unsealed on January 15.
Both men were reported to be in Kyiv.
The scheme was first revealed in 2017 by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates U.S. stock markets.
According to the U.S. criminal complaint, the scheme, which netted $100 million in illegal profits, involved hacking into a database run by the Securities and Exchange Commission between February 2016 and March 2017.
The hackers gained access to thousands of corporate news releases before they were published and then used the stolen information to make money through illegal insider trades on top company stocks.
Authorities said the group gave the hackers “shopping lists” of releases they wanted to see in advance, including ones with financial results, and then traded the stocks.
The hackers were routinely paid a cut of the profits.
Another Ukrainian was sentenced in 2017 to 30 months in a U.S. prison as part of the scheme.